This latest release from Epica is a great example of band with vision, class, and emotional energy. They are standing at the top of their genre leading the way to excellence.
The combination of classical pieces done by the orchestra, then progressively joined by the band, and finally emerging into a cross-section of Epica’s musical catalogue is pulled off with brilliance. The energy felt from the live audience adds an extra charisma to the performance. It seems a bit odd seeing long-haired headbanging going on along with a classical orchestra – but, it works. Although combining orchestra with metal is not new idea, it certainly is done well here and heightens the experience/pleasure of the concert.
Especially interesting are the fresh versions of Montagues and Capuets, and In the Hall of the Mountain King. The inclusion of the Spiderman theme and the Star Wars bit are a somewhat odd, but not totally out of place. No doubt, the choice of musical pieces done by the orchestra are intriguing.
Although I am not a fan of the death/growling vocals, I seem to be getting used to it – at least on this disc I can better make out what is being said. In regards to female vocals, they don’t come any better than Simone. Her voice is strong, pristine, and alluring/enticing – this seems to set her slightly apart from Floor Jansen and Tarja – who are both incredible singers.
A highly recommended release to all Epica fans and those appreciate Gothic Metal.